My anti-bucket list: What I don’t want to do

Cheeto 3
Cheeto — now known as Captain Ahab — had his leg removed July 27, 2012. I picked him up from Philly’s animal control shelter later that day. Now he lives with Mike’s sister and her husband, along with two other kitties and a little dog.

A while back, it seems like everyone was typing up bucket lists and sharing them. You know — a list of dream travel destinations , life goals and stuff. I never did one because the field is so open. It’s easier (and more interesting) come up with things I definitely do not want to do. It seems I have a lot of these, or maybe I gave it more thought than I needed to. In any case, here is my anti-bucket list:

  • I’ll never visit a Disney theme park. Why? I’m an adult with no kids. I know there is an appeal to some childless adults, like my significant other, who tried to persuade me into a Disney vacation. I think the problem, along with being a childless adult, is that I don’t get Disney. I don’t know why, but I didn’t watch any Disney movies or anything like that as a child, so it doesn’t mean anything to me. I love the Muppets, which I believe are now owned by Disney, but that’s not really enough to persuade me to spend money and PTO time there.
  • I’ll never be a jerk to waitstaff at a restaurant or any other type of service professional. I’ve never waited tables, but I have friends who have, and I know it’s a tough job so I try to be extra nice and respectful. I also tend to have special requests and questions about the food, and nobody’s going to accommodate an asshole.
  • I’ll never get a tattoo. I think tattoos are cool, but I missed the tat boat. I’m not interested enough at my age to start getting them, so the only markings on my skin will be my freckles. I actually did really want one of the SEPTA logo back in the mid-’90s and I went to a tattoo shop but it was closed. I think that was my window, and after that, I just lost interest.
  • I’ll never cut my hair short. I had a bob at three points in my life, and each time I concluded it just didn’t work for me. I’d love to pull off a Keely Smith look, but where would I hide? Even though I wear it pulled back most of the time now, my hair is my security blanket. Anything shorter than a bob? Unthinkable. Even when I’m old, my hair will be nicely groomed and tastefully long.
  • I’ll never purchase an animal from a pet store or a breeder. Since I volunteer at an animal shelter, I know firsthand that there are plenty of sweet animals of all types — including purebred cats and dogs — who need homes. If you really want a certain breed, try a breed-specific rescue. Adopting takes a little more work than going to a retail store or an “Amish farm” (a.k.a. a puppy mill) but you’ll be getting a healthier animal and you won’t be giving financial support to people who mistreat animals through irresponsible breeding.
  • I’ll never get any nail art. When it comes to personal appearance, nails are a low priority to me. I spend my day at a computer keyboard, so they have to be super short. They’re clean and healthy, and that’s good enough for me. I don’t see myself driving to a nail salon and paying someone apply nail wraps, acrylics, rhinestones, chevron patterns or any other intricate designs, and I wouldn’t do it myself at home. (I also wouldn’t go to a tanning salon. Do people even do that anymore? I hope not. I’m pale and I like it.)
  • I’ll never live in a Midwestern or Southern state. I lived in Ohio for three years and it was profoundly miserable. I made some good friends and we had some fun times, but I felt like I was living in a backward, foreign country, and I only moved one state away. The culture is way different.  (I’m applying the same logic to what it’d be like to live in a Southern state, even though I’ve never done that.) Philadelphia — with all its flaws and annoyances — is the only place that’s really felt like home.
  • I’ll never eat meat. I became disgusted with eating meat after watching a movie, Alive, in which the survivors of a plane crash resorted to cannibalism to stay alive. I realized that under our skin, meat is meat. Red meat is the muscle of an animal, and it all looks the same. An animal is an animal and we’re all sentient and can experience pain and fear. There’s no difference between a cat, a cow, a goat, a dog, a lamb, a person, a chicken, a turkey, anything. And I wouldn’t kill my cat, dog or friend and eat them. Here are lyrics to the song “Cats and Dogs” by the hardcore band Gorilla Biscuits that sums up how I feel. Later, I learned more about animal rights and read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation, but it all began because I didn’t want to put a dead body in my mouth.
  • I’ll never get a face lift. Sure, I can be vain, but there’s something a little unsettling about undergoing major surgery to reverse the natural aging process. I don’t want to sound judgmental of those who do get face lifts and other things like this. I’m hoping to age gracefully like my mom did — she was always beautiful and she never lost that, not even in her 70s. So, I’m hoping to ride the coattails of her good genes, but if I can’t, I’ll be okay with that. Even when I feel I look fugly, I can find one thing I like that I can feel good about, like my eyebrows (if I did a good job on them) or my cheekbones at a certain angle.
  • I’ll never vote Republican. I’ve been voting since the ’90s — not only in presidential elections, but in primaries and midterm elections as well — and I’ve never picked a Republican. I’m as liberal as they come, and that’s the hill I’ll die on.
  • I’l never go swimming with dolphins or engage in any activity in which animals are used for entertainment. When I lived in Las Vegas, it sucked to see the tigers and lions and other animals confined to a plexiglass-encased habitat in a resort-casino. I worked for an entertainment magazine and had to see shows involving animals used in magic tricks. And I even went to the circus once when I was little. But now that I have a choice, I don’t want to give my time or money to any person or organization involved in confining and training animals to entertain people. I don’t feel it’s right for us as humans to exert dominion over other sentient beings just for the sake of a fun memory or photo.
  • I’ll never wear a jersey, paint my face and cheer really hard at a sports game. I like being in on the Eagles and Phillies games and celebrations, but I really know nothing about sports. If there’s beer, though (and there always is) I’ll be there and I’ll take a cue from others as to when to cheer.

So, I want to know — what’s on your anti-bucket list? Take some time to think about it, and tell me one thing you’d never do in this life.


  1. Great list!

    I know myself well enough to know that I can’t fully predict who I will be in the future. That said, each year that I get older I can feel myself becoming more and more grounded in my beliefs.

    I can say that I found some similarities to you on your list. I don’t believe that I will ever go back to eating meat. I also think that I can confidently say that I will never follow any kind of strict/ extreme diet. I know that vegetarianism may seem extreme to some people, but I think that things like the cabbage diet, smoothie diet, atkins diet or the paleo diet, etc… are much more extreme. For me, vegetarianism is more like a moral lifestyle decision rather than a diet.

    I would never use a tanning bed either (though I did one time in the 90’s for about 5 minutes just to try it out!). I’ve had acrylic nails a few times before and one time had a horrible rhinestone decoration job. Hey, I grew up in Northeast Philly. It was a must. I would never do that again though.

    No face lifts or tummy tucks or lipo plans here. I hope that I can continue to respect and take care of my body and appreciate it for all of its, for lack of a better term, flaws. They are what makes us all unique and beautiful.

    So far I have never dyed my hair. I can’t say that I won’t ever but I am hoping that I will be able to fully embrace the striking grays that have begun to appear on my head. I think that gray hair can look fabulous on a woman! I’ll see how that goes….

    Lastly, I love the comment about the cruise! That is certainly something I have no interest in ever doing. That said, if a free cruise was offered to me, I can’t say that I wouldn’t take it. 😉

    Oh, and though I love tattoos, I will likely never have one. But then again, who knows! (I had a similar experience to yours as a teenager and am SO thankful that I don’t have a little mushroom on my ankle right now. I can’t even imagine it. The SEPTA logo sounds much better!!!).

    January 31, 2015
  2. This is awesome.

    I will never give away my animals because they are inconvenient for me. I wish everyone understood that an animal is a life long commitment.

    January 28, 2015
  3. I’ll never go on a cruise. The thought of spending a week on a ship with thousands of strangers sounds horrible. It also does not make economical sense for me. I am not a picky eater but I do not eat a lot. To have to pay for the 24/7 availability of food that I will not eat makes no sense. Also, I am not a good waiter. I hate waiting in line for anything. Actually I will not wait in line for anything. With some 5000 people on a ship, I am sure there are lines everywhere. I need to stay active on vacation-hiking, running, climbing or just sight seeing. I love to be busy all day, wearing my comfy clothes, then grab some dinner and call it a day. Having to get dressed for dinner and eat at an assigned time with people I don’t know is not my style. I’d rather vacation where the possibility of seeing another human (besides the people I am lucky enough to be vactioning with) is remote. Stick me in the middle of the Nevada desert with a bottle of wine and a foil pack dinner cooked over some hot coals after a long day of hiking…please?

    January 17, 2015

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